Tropical Shrubs for the Subtropics

by Paul Anderson

A plant that we've had in our garden for many years is Tabernaemontana coronaria, Ithink its current name is Tabernaemontana divaricata 'Flore Pleno'.  Its common name include Crepe Jasmine, Carnation of India, East Indian Rosebay, Adam's Apple, Nero's Crown, Coffee Rose, Crepe Gardenia, Butterfly Gardenia or Fleur d'Amour.  It is a member of the Apobynaceae family which incldes plants like Plumeria, Oleander, Allamanda etc.  The genus occurs from India to Thailand.  It is fairly drought tolerant tropical evergreen shrub that has Gardenia like glossy foliage and is fragrant, especially at night.  Ours has survived for many years in a fairly dry drained situation with a lot of root competition from its neighbours.  It has morning sun with a northern aspect and is about 2 metres tall.  I have not seen this plant offered for sale in the trade for about 15 years in NSW.
Another group of tropical shrubs that we've had great succvess with, in a really hot protected position is the Crotons.  Now you just can't plant them anywhere in this climate, they need excellent drainage and protection from cold winds in full sun or light shade.  The front one is 'Congo', the spotty one is 'Fiesta' and the middle variety is called 'Afrika.  Hemigraphis colorata 'Exotica' is the Purple Waffle plant used as a ground cover in the foreground.

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